When Clubs Get Empty

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If you’re like many gym owners/operators/trainers across the country, you’re just now catching your breath after the annual invasion of New Year’s Resolutioners. You’re glancing around your club, scratching your head asking, “Where have they all gone? Hey, was that a tumble weed?” Well… maybe you’re not seeing tumble weeds blow by, but many clubs are trying to figure out how their recently packed out clubs are looking like a ghost town scene from an old western movie.

Here are a few ideas on how each department in your club can play a part in getting those January members back and retaining them for the long run:

Marketing Department

It is time to go social! Utilize all your social media platforms to get consumers back into the purchasing funnel. Create your own tagline that brings your club front of mind and promotes members using your club for the long haul.

For example:



…You get the idea. Make it catchy, and get those hashtags and retweets rolling.

Don’t be afraid to show a lighter side. Place a “singles ad” on Facebook.

          Not your “run of the mill” bachelor– Single black treadmill seeking the special someone who enjoys long walks, morning jogs, and logging miles with a life-long training partner.  

Maybe a flash sale is more your style? Whatever your style for marketing you club is, millennials are already on social media, so meet them where they are and make the most of it. Like every marketing department you’ve gotten the demand for more leads on a regular basis, take this as your opportunity to make it rain leads.

Group Fitness Department

Friends don’t let friend skip workouts! Create a free class pass and give them out to all your loyal group fitness fanatics. These fanatics are who make the group experience so much fun! They hoot, holler, and post on Facebook after class… Why? Because, they love it! Give them an easy way to share the love by bringing a buddy to class with them.

This department has some major pull with the member base. These loyal fans love your awesome instructors and appreciate the results they’ve seen from classes. Create a contest amongst your instructors and reward them with swag, a bonus, or whatever fits your brand. Don’t under estimate the power of group in getting folks back in the door.

Training Department

No need to send out a search party for all those MIA (missing in action) training clients. Sometimes, a phone call or text is all that’s needed. There are numerous reasons why clients leave sessions on the books and do not take advantage of them. Some clients may have gotten lost in the shuffle of the revolving door typical of some of younger training departments. Many clients backslide and need their trainer to pull them back in again. Some clients have had a health issue that is now resolved and they are just waiting for someone to give them that nudge to get them in a routine.

You might face some resistance from your trainers, let’s face it, those are cold calls. Flip the mind set, challenge your trainers to go after those lost clients that once needed help  and who need it more now than ever!

Sales Department

Large corporations are searching for ways to promote a healthier lifestyle, lower healthcare costs, and reduce the number of employee sick days…and that’s where you come in.

Gather your sales team together and brainstorm the businesses your team frequents on a daily basis. In just a few minutes you’ll have several businesses written down that you can reach out to, helping them, and generating new leads for your club.

Don’t forget about your existing corporate agreements. Reach out to their HR representative or do an on-site visit and gather up their employees to re-resolve to a healthier 2015 – with your club leading the way!

Operations Department

We’ve touched on social media, word of mouth from friends, and calls/text to reach your January members, but here’s an idea that’s a blast from the past – a handwritten card. (I wish the written word had sound effects like an explosion. The handwritten note is mind blowing!)

No pre-made labels or typed notes allowed! Think about when you check your mail. You sort through it tossing out mailers, set aside bills, but your eyes stop when you see your name hand written.

According to the United States Postal Service, the average home only receives a personal letter once every seven weeks. 

Your operations team includes front desk staff and child care workers. These are the perfect people to write these notes because they have an existing relationship with not just the adults, but kids, too.

These notes could say, “We miss sweet little Suzy in our kids club.” Or, notes can say something as simple as, “We miss seeing you on Mondays before your Step class or training session.” I bet the other gyms in town wouldn’t even think to go old school in pursuit of their missing members.

Do not let 2015 be like other years. Yes, the resolve is gone for many of your “January members,” but it doesn’t have to be. This is your year! Corral those members again, that is unless you enjoy watching the tumble weeds blow past your treadmills.


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About Erin Gray

Erin Gray is Co-Owner and Manager of 865 Fitness. She is a CrossFit L-1 trainer, CrossFit Kids coach, and yoga instructor. She is certified in all nine MOSSA group fitness programs. When she isn't leading CrossFit classes you’ll find her running, or blogging. https://www.facebook.com/erinleighgray865 https://www.instagram.com/e3gray/